Review of Angels and Men by Catherine Fox

small_9780281072309_angels and men.jpgMara Johns has arrived in ‘a great northern cathedral city’ to continue her studies.  She is a daughter of the Vicarage, but anti-church – and interesting position in an institution that also trains Priests.  Mara wants to be left alone to get on with her research, but would-be friends persist and she lets them in, becoming good friends with Maddy and May; intrigued by her corridor neighbour ‘The Polecat'; and caught between Rupert and Johnny, who both pursue her.

So unfolds Angels and Men by Catherine Fox from SPCK Publishing.

We discover why Mara has chosen the research subject she has and why she is so determined to keep people at bay.  Slowly the barriers are challenged and Mara faces up to herself – though still remaining romantically confused!  She also, eventually manages to find out the truth about a situation that has been hanging over her.

This is a good read, a story with enough twists and turns to keep you turning pages.  If you feel the need for a romance, set loosely around those training for ministry (though it wasn’t like that when I trained – or not that I noticed) or exploring church, with all its different characters, as well as family life and how it affects you, then this is for you.

I enjoyed it (but I do like my stories to be fully resolved at the end and not left hanging!).

The Mask

2014-07-19 12.34.39The Mask,
putting on a front,
disguising,
protecting,
hiding the reality.

I don’t want you to know me,
to see me
as I really am.
I want to pretend,
to show what I want,
to hide my vulnerability,
to protect the real me.

So I show you
this mask,
‘I’m fine’,
‘That’s great’,
‘If only you knew’ -
Don’t rock the boat.

Don’t let anyone see,
the pain,
the hurt,
the stress,
the truth.

Don’t let them touch
the scars,
the reality,
the story
that makes me who I am.

It’s not pretty,
but it’s me.

Can I?
Should I?
Let you see?
Look?
Ask?
Throw off  the mask?
Break the mould?
Let you see?

Will it hurt?
Will I be laughed at?
Gasped at?
Will you like what you see,
rather than the ornate cover?

Is that a risk I can take?
Or a reality that has to be lived?

Can we all live that way?
Face each other
in truth,
honesty,
reality.
Not hiding,
disguising our reality,
pretending;

but living,
loving,
supporting,
holding
one another,

in truth
and love

What Were You Expecting

John 6:16-29  (CEV)

Jesus Walks on the Water

16 That evening, Jesus’ disciples went down to the lake.17 They got into a boat and started across for Capernaum. Later that evening Jesus had still not come to them, 18 and a strong wind was making the water rough.

19 When the disciples had rowed for three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water. He kept coming closer to the boat, and they were terrified. 20 But he said, “I am Jesus! Don’t be afraid!” 21 The disciples wanted to take him into the boat, but suddenly the boat reached the shore where they were headed.

The Bread That Gives Life

22 The people who had stayed on the east side of the lake knew that only one boat had been there. They also knew that Jesus had not left in it with his disciples. But the next day 23 some boats from Tiberias sailed near the place where the crowd had eaten the bread for which the Lord had given thanks. 24 They saw that Jesus and his disciples had left. Then they got into the boats and went to Capernaum to look for Jesus. 25 They found him on the west side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “I tell you for certain that you are not looking for me because you saw the miracles, but because you ate all the food you wanted. 27 Don’t work for food that spoils. Work for food that gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food, because God the Father has given him the right to do so.”

28 “What exactly does God want us to do?” the people asked.

29 Jesus answered, “God wants you to have faith in the one he sent.”

Waiting in expectation,
waiting for Jesus to arrive.
What were we expecting?
Him to come in a boat?
The way we had?
The way that seemed obvious?

But that was not how it was,
not how Jesus came.

He walked,
through the choppy waters,
right to where we were
and climbed in our boat
with us.

He didn’t row alongside in his own boat,
however reassuring that might be,
he got into ours,
among us,
with us,
riding the storm.

It wasn’t what we expected,
we were terrified
of who and what was here,
but it was you.
You came to us
and together
we got
to the place we were headed.

Lord,
I have my expectations
of what you will do,
where we are going,
how you will work it;
may I be willing to let you surprise me
and steer me,
us,
to the place you are headed.
May I do it your way,
with you firmly on board.

I don’t need to be afraid,
trying to paddle my own boat,
for it is you,
you are here
with me.

The wind may blow
and the water be stirred,
but as I look
and wonder where you are,
you are here,
may I willingly take you on board
and let you steer